Consular Processing – Immigrant FAQs
What is a Consular Processing – Immigrant case?
If you are applying for a green card while outside of the U.S., the Consular Immigrant process can proceed after the Form I-140 is approved. Please bear in mind that the legal team will wait to confirm case approval when the original Approval Notice has been obtained.
The immigrant consular process consists of completing the Form DS-260 online with the Department of State, paying the required National Visa Center (NVC) fees, completing a medical exam, and preparing for the interview at the consulate.
Consular Processing – Immigrant case in your Envoy account will include the legal team’s assistance with gathering the appropriate documents and drafting the DS-260 online. They will also submit any supporting documentation to the NVC directly after the DS-260 is completed and support you throughout the process. Please review the steps to this process below for more information.
Why has a Consular Processing – Immigrant case been opened?
Consular Processing – Immigrant case has been opened in your Envoy account because you have indicated you will be applying for the green card outside of the U.S. The Consular Process is the final step in applying for the green card after the I-140 or I-130 have been approved.
If you believe that this case has been opened in error, and you intend to apply inside of the U.S. using the Form I-485, Adjustment of Status, please post to your Communication Center as soon as possible.
Why is there an I-824 case in my Envoy account?
There are specific circumstances where an I-824 case may be needed alongside a Consular Immigrant case. The legal team will determine if an I-824 case is needed, and you will be notified if this case is opened in your Envoy account.
The I-824 is filed in the following situations:
- The primary applicant originally intended to apply for the green card inside the U.S. at the time of the I-140 filing, and then circumstances changed, requiring them to apply at the consulate.
- The primary applicant applies for the green card inside of the U.S. with an I-485, but their dependents apply for the green card at the consulate.
Please be sure the legal team is aware if any of these circumstances may apply to you or a family member. You can post to your Communication Center with any relevant information, and the attorney is happy to advise.
Are my dependents included in the Consular Processing – Immigrant case?
Dependents will require separate Consular Processing – Immigrant cases in the Envoy platform.
Important note if dependents will not apply at the same time with you:
If your dependents need to apply for the green card at a different time from the primary applicant, they should remain eligible so long as they meet the necessary requirements.
- Spouse: can join at any time with no restriction period.
- Children: so long as they are unmarried and under the age of 21 at the time of their interview.
- Stepchildren: if unmarried, under the age of 21 at the time of the interview, and under the age of 18 at the time the biological parent married the stepparent.
If dependents intend to apply later, you must contact the National Visa Center (NVC) each year to keep the visa case open for them. If the NVC closes the green card case, then they will require an I-824 filing to re-send the I-140 and subsequently reopen the case.
Can I include my children if they were not originally part of the case?
Any dependent family members who intend to apply as your dependents for the green card must be listed in the I-140 application. Dependent family members can apply with you if they meet the qualifications above.
If dependents were NOT listed on the I-140, the legal team needs to contact NVC and request that they open the case for the additional dependents. If you have additional family members who will file for the green card but were not included in the I-140 filing, please post to your Communication Center. If the legal team determines that an I-824 case is required, they will direct you to Envoy Customer Experience for assistance with opening the case.
What documents do I need to provide for the Consular Processing – Immigrant case?
After the Consular Processing – Immigrant case is initiated in your Envoy account, you will need to complete the case Questionnaire and upload all documents that apply to you. Please see the list below for the general documents required upon case creation.
For more information on document intake: https://www.envoyglobal.com/faq-for-employees/employee-faq-documents/
- Color Copy of Passport: Only the biographical page is required for this case.
- Birth Certificate + any necessary translations*: A civil birth certificate is a written and registered official document stating the date and place of birth. It is issued by a governmental body and includes the name, date, place of birth and names of both birth mother and father. For green card cases, a long-form birth certificate is needed–this is the version that includes both the mother and father’s full names.
- Marriage Certificate + any necessary translations*: A marriage certificate should be an official document that states to whom you are (or were) married. A marriage certificate should state your complete birth name, your spouse’s complete birth name, the date and place of the marriage, and the names of the people who witnessed the marriage. Marriage certificates must be issued by a relevant government authority–certificates issued by a church or other religious organizations are not acceptable.
- Divorce Certificate(s) + any necessary translations*: This document is only needed if applicable. A divorce decree is an official written document that states that the marriage has been terminated. It must be registered and recorded by government authorities.
- Police Certificate(s) + any necessary translations*: This document should be obtained for any country you have resided in for longer than 12 months after you turned 16. A translation will be needed if it is in any language other than English. Police certificates are documents that show what records police authorities have on file for a particular applicant. They should list arrests, the reason for the arrest(s) and the disposition of each case of which there is a record.
- Visa Stamp: Issued at a consulate, this is a page within your passport which includes biographical details and a photo. The legal team generally does not require entry/exit stamps. Some individuals, like applicants from Canada, may not have a Visa Stamp.
- Proof of payment to the NVC (see below)
*Original foreign documents are not required for the Consular Processing application but may be needed at the appointment. Please contact the legal team when the interview appointment has been scheduled.
What is the NVC (National Visa Center), and why do I have to pay a fee to them?
After USCIS approves the applicant’s I-140 petition, USCIS will assist in transferring the case to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The NVC is responsible for reviewing the fees, forms, and supporting documents to ensure that all documentation required is available before scheduling the immigrant visa interview.
This step is required before the legal team can prepare the DS-260 on the Consular Electronic Application Center’s (CEAC) website.
Direct link to the CEAC website: https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/
What is the process for a Consular Processing – Immigrant case?
The legal team will prepare the Consular Processing – Immigrant case in your Envoy account, which includes drafting the DS-260 on the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, assisting with document gathering, and supporting you throughout the process.
Applicants will need to complete payment of the NVC fees, review and submit the DS-260 online after the legal team has completed the draft and attend their interview appointment with any necessary documentation.
The Department of State (DOS) has provided a breakdown of this process, beginning HERE. The below overview outlines the order of steps in this process as you can expect them in your Envoy account; please review so that you know what to expect and when certain actions will be taken when working with Envoy.
I-140/I-130 case is filed with USCIS as a Consular Processing filing.
USCIS approves I-140/I-130 Filing.
USCIS forwards the petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) after the Priority Date is current. For more information on this step from the DOS: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/step-1-submit-a-petition/step-2-begin-nvc-processing.html
If the legal team filed the I-140/I-130, they will receive the invoice from the NVC for payment as the attorney of record. This indicates that the consular process can begin.
The legal team will provide the NVC Notice, which includes the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee invoice for each applicant. The legal team will also initiate the process of opening a Consular Processing – Immigrant case in the Envoy platform.
The Consular Processing – Immigrant case is initiated in your Envoy account. The legal team will begin gathering documents and information after the case is opened.
- An I-864 case may be required for family-based filings if an I-130 was filed.
- While the NVC Notice provides instructions on submitting the application online, the legal team will be preparing the case on your behalf if a Consular Processing – Immigrant case is opened in your Envoy account.
The applicant must make payment to the NVC, following instructions provided in the NVC Notice; after payment is completed, the DS-260 becomes available.
- Important Note: Applicants should retain the record of payment of the fees as proof of payment will be needed for case processing.
The legal team will draft the DS-260 online; they will notify the applicant on the Communication Center when it is ready for the applicant to review and submit if all information is correct.
After the applicant has reviewed and submitted the DS-260 online, they must upload the DS-260 Confirmation Page to the Supporting Documents.
When the legal team has the DS-260 Confirmation Page, they will assemble and submit all supporting documents to the NVC inside the U.S. Generally, no further action is needed from applicants after this time unless the NVC asks for additional or replacement copies of documents.
The NVC will send an invitation to appear at the consulate indicated in the application as well as instructions for scheduling an appointment for a medical exam. The medical exam must be obtained from an approved physician prior to the appointment.
- Timeline expectation: The consular interview appointment will be scheduled based on the specific consulate you will visit, and this can vary greatly.
The applicant(s) will attend the Consular Appointment for the interview. The legal team will post to your Communication Center with specific instructions on what to bring to your appointment; generally, applicants bring the following documents to the interview:
- Interview Appointment Letter from NVC
- DS-260 Confirmation Page
- Supporting documents (some original documents may be required)
The interview generally consists of questions about the application. For more information on the interview process from the Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/step-10-prepare-for-the-interview/step-11-applicant-interview.html
The consular officer will make a decision on the application. This can occur at the time of your appointment or after a few days. The NVC will contact you with more information when a decision has been made.
If approved, an Immigrant visa will be placed on a page of the applicant’s passport. This visa is typically valid for 6 months, and you must travel to the U.S. before the visa expires. You will be provided with additional instructions on paying the USCIS Immigration Fee if it applies to you and further instructions for entering the U.S.
The applicant can now travel to the U.S. with any derivative (dependent) family members. Further instructions on the entry process will be provided. Be sure to work with the legal team to coordinate travel details and ensure that all appropriate documentation is on-hand. Note that the visa in your passport alone will not guarantee entry.
After being admitted as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), USCIS will mail the green card to your U.S. address!
Will the attorney help me prepare for the consular interview?
The attorney will provide general preparation materials, such as recommended documents and general advice as described above. If you are looking for additional support, such as practice for the interview, Envoy may be able to connect you with a third-party partner who specializes in providing this type of preparation. If you would like more information on this, please reach out to Envoy Customer Experience.
Will the attorney attend the consular interview with me?
The Consular Processing – Immigrant case includes preparation of the filing and guidance throughout the process. It does not include the attorney attending the consular interview with you.
What do I need to do now?
Please log into your Envoy account (app.envoyglobal.com) to review open cases and see if any action is required. Envoy Customer Experience can also assist you with any questions you may have. Some common actions needed may include: